Vance-Granville Community College will offer a course on the “afternoon tea” party, the tradition that is enjoying a renaissance as fine hotels, inns and tea rooms across the country give guests an opportunity to retreat from the hurried pace of their lives.
The course, called “Let’s Have a Tea Party,” will meet on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 until 4 p.m., starting March 29. The final class and “graduation” ceremony is an actual afternoon tea party planned and facilitated by the students at Magnolia Manor Plantation in Warrenton on April 19, thanks to the generosity of owners Sheila and Larry Carver.
The instructor will be Dr. B.K. McCloud of Oxford, a 2012 graduate of the course and historian for the Old North State Tea Society (ONSTS). McCloud has a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and retired as a full professor of education at North Carolina Central University. She is also a member of the Granville County Historical Society and a docent at the Granville County Museum.
After completing the tea class at VGCC under the instruction of Constance Lue of Oxford, McCloud has continued her education in the world of tea by attending meetings of the ONSTS, frequenting tea rooms, reading, building her personal tea library, and attending classes. In 2013, she attended the International World Tea Expo in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 2015, McCloud participated in a tea master-class with international tea expert Jane Pettigrew in London, under the auspices of the U.K. Tea Council. That same year, she received her certification as a Tea and Etiquette Consultant after studying with Bruce and Shelley Richardson in Lexington, Kentucky.
McCloud’s students will learn about the history of tea; the difference between an afternoon tea party, a royal tea party and “High Tea”; and the proper way to make the best pot of tea. They will have tastings of a wide variety of teas (black, white, green, Oolongs and herbal) at each class meeting. Beyond the specifics of teas, students will consider qualities of grace, civility and etiquette. Participants might use what they learn to hold their own tea parties for children as well as their adult friends. Afternoon Tea also can be a way to raise funds for churches and clubs.
The cost of the course is $60 for four class sessions, plus $20 for the final tea at Magnolia Manor. Students will receive a valuable resource manual with recipes for tea time, tips on flower arranging, and a section on etiquette.
The deadline to register for this class is March 26. Prospective students can register online at www.vgcc.edu/ped or in person at Main Campus, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information, contact Gail Clark at (252) 738-3385 or [email protected].